'You are witness to the fact that till 2014 less than 50% work was completed and only few pillars were seen. There is no doubt that had Atalji’s government got another term, this bridge would have been inaugurated in 2007-08,' Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after inaugurating the Bogibeel Bridge
Bogibeel (Assam): On Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 94th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the nation's longest rail-cum-road bridge over the River Brahmaputra in Bogibeel.
It was a historic moment and Modi credited former Prime Minister late Vajpayee for making the 4.9-km bridge possible. However, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda claimed in Bengaluru that the project was sanctioned by him in 1997.
So, what is the truth?
It was Vajpayee, says Modi
After the inauguration of the double-decker bridge on Tuesday, Modi had said, “There can’t be a better tribute to Atalji on his birthday.”
“This is good governance. There must be some people who were here 16 years ago when Atalji was here. Since then, a generation has changed, you have waited for long,” said Modi.
PM @narendramodi dedicates the India's longest #BogibeelBridge in Assam to the nation. The bridge spans the River Brahmaputra between Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts of Assam and is of immense economic and strategic significance for the nation. pic.twitter.com/syoauOHKY4— PIB India (@PIB_India) December 25, 2018
Modi also said that if Vajpayee had got another term as prime minister in 2004, the bridge would have been opened 10 years ago.
“You are witness to the fact that till 2014 less than 50% work was completed and only few pillars were seen. There is no doubt that had Atalji’s government got another term, this bridge would have been inaugurated in 2007-08,” he said.
'Who will remember me?' asks Gowda
In Bengaluru, Gowda had expressed his disappointment that people had forgotten him and had not invited him for the inauguration.
“The railway line to Kashmir, Delhi Metro and Bogibeel railroad bridge were among the projects I had sanctioned (as prime minister). I had sanctioned the budget of Rs 100 crore for each of these projects and laid their foundation stones. People have forgotten today,” Gowda said.
“Aiyo Rama! Who will remember me? Some newspapers might have mentioned about it,” Gowda said in a reply to a question whether he received an invitation.
The Bogibeel Bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord and sanctioned in 1997-98, is also likely to play a crucial role in defence movement along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh.Some reports claimed that Gowda had laid the foundation stone for the bridge on January 22, 1997.
Congress stakes claim too
The UPA government failed to complete the project during their 10-year tenure but the Congress was trying to claim some mileage from the development. Some of them claimed on Twitter that the Congress government had constructed the Bogibeel Bridge!
Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi tweeted, “People of Assam will never forget that Congress Govt constructed the Sadiya-Dhola bridge, Bogibeel bridge.”
However, the work on the bridge was actually started by the Vajpayee government on April 21, 2002.
It was due to Vajpayee's government that the bridge saw the light of the day. However, the work on the bridge was actually started by the Vajpayee government on April 21, 2002.
It was due to Vajpayee's government that the bridge saw the light of the day. A citizen’s forum in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh had first demanded it in June 1977 of then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. Nothing came of it.
Then in 1996, five MPs of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) sent a detailed project report to the then prime minister Deve Gowda. While they were livid, all that the ten PM could do was placate them by referring the matter to the then railway minister Ram Vilas Paswan. Paswan, in turn, said it was too late to include the Bogibeel affair in that year's Budget plan.
The real work on Bogibeel Bridge started not before 2002 under the reign of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The only claim that turns out to be true is that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Last Updated 4:22 PM IST